HIGH POINT, N.C. — Ashley Jones lost her right arm in an ATV accident back in 2016. At age 14, her life completely changed. It's something that could bring people down, but that's not Ashley.
Throughout the years, she found joy in running, which led her to High Point's track team.
It's been six years since her accident. She's a sophomore in college now, still adjusting to a big chance, but never letting it hold her back.
"It still feels very weird," said Jones. "I wake up with pain in my arm. That's something I had to get used to."
They say time heals all wounds, but it's the pain that reminds Ashley she's an amputee.
Ashley spent years re-learning everyday skills, before shifting her focus to new ones like driving.
"Mostly everything in my daily life changed," said Jones.
It's the little things many of us don't think twice about doing, but for Ashley, it takes a little more effort.
"From how do I open the door when I'm carrying something, to how I do my hair, to how do I type," said Jones.
Figuring out how to tie her shoes was not easy.
"It’s taken a while to find out what works and what doesn’t work," said Jones. "Sometimes I get frustrated on a task and I can't do it and like, 'Okay'."
The track is where she goes to put her frustrations aside.
"It’s the moments where everything fades away to really experience the joys of running," said Jones.
It's a place where time won't heal wounds, but where time is everything.
"I love the competitive spirit of track and field, and that it’s a solo sport that you’re pushing yourself and your mental fortitude," said Jones.
"None of her times met our walk-on standards," said High Point Track Coach Remy Tamer. "There was something else to her from a human aspect that we were certainly interested in learning more about."
In her second season at High Point, Ashley exceeded expectations. Tamer said her strength and character drive her performances and it's those qualities that help her beyond the track.
"My arm doesn’t completely define me, but it is part of me, and so I love to have conversations with you or anyone else that would want to talk about what life looks like after the loss of a limb," said Jones. "It's like, 'This is how it looks, yeah, we have adaptations and we have challenges,' but it doesn’t have to define everything that I have to do to where it restricts me from my goals on the track or in the classroom."
Time may not completely heal.
"Now grieving and all that stuff, 'Has it become easier?'," said Jones. "There are days that hit me where it’s a lot harder to be like, 'Oh yeah, this is how I’m living.'"
Time has given Ashley perspective to adjust, adapt and continue to live life to the fullest.
"I think it's meant to be lived that way," said Jones.